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EMMA WESTWOOD

Writing about movies, monsters, cinematic events and other wild trips

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DVD release

NIGHTMARE booklet essay

I was blessed to be asked by Indicator to write this booklet essay on the Freddie-Francis-directed NIGHTMARE (1964) for their glorious four-disc release called Hammer Volume 6: Night Shadows, also containing THE SHADOW OF THE CAT (1961), CAPTAIN CLEGG (1962) and THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1962).

I’ve done my best to capture the artwork in the two photos below for what can only be described as a breathtaking boxset. Let’s just say, this is an edition that is sure to make an impression in any DVD collection.

Thank you to Kier-La Janisse for providing the inspiration behind this piece.

New DVD commentary: LAKE MUNGO

I’m tripping over myself with new blu-ray releases at the moment, so my tardiness in promoting Second Sight’s sigh-worthy release of LAKE MUNGO is due to nothing but giving it some room to breathe.

The featured artwork should be enough to encourage you to see this mesmeric Australian story of ghosts and grief but, if not, I encourage you to do a quick scoot around the internet and you’ll hear from others who have been wrapped in its magic.

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and I had a lot to say in our audio commentary on this release of LAKE MUNGO. But we’re not the only ones.

This limited edition boxset brings together diverse voices to talk about a feature that will only be more and more appreciated with the passing of time until it is eventually regarded as a classic.

THE STYLIST booklet essay

I recently took possession of Arrow Film‘s absolutely gorgeous, limited edition, two-disc, blu-ray release of Jill Gevargizian‘s The Stylist. This is really something special – a jam-packed release, many would say – and I’m honoured to have contributed an essay to the booklet, ‘The Stylist: A curious case of mistaken identity’ and rub shoulders with the likes of my homegirl Alexandra Heller-Nicholas who has contributed with a sumptuous visual essay, ‘The Invisible Woman’.

For any horror fans who have not seen this feature-length version of the 2016 short of the same name, I urge you to rectify the oversight and move The Stylist to the top of your viewing list. I put it on my best films of 2020 and my uncle Ross says that it’s “the best horror film I’ve seen made in recent years.”

I just happened to interview one of the stars of the film, Brea Grant, last year about an entirely different project; her graphic novel, Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter. It would be lovely if you’d care to read that one too.

New RAW Blu-ray releases

I was lucky to be part of Monster Pictures’ release of Julia Ducournau‘s RAW a few years back, in which there were masses of extras featuring venerable film critics such as Kier-La Janisse and Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. The extras from this one have now found their way to not one but two new Blu-ray releases of RAW – one from Scream Factory (Region A) and another from Second Sight (Region B).

Let me draw your attention to the one from Second Sight, though, because it’s a little bit special.

As well as all the juicy original extras, it’s got a heap of news ones (and beautiful cover art!) including a freshly cooked video essay from Alexandra, a perfect-bound booklet with new essays by Hannah Woodhead and me (Emma Westwood), and a new interview with Julia Ducournau by Lou Thomas.

That’s just a taste (pardon the pun) of what makes this special limited edition extra special. You won’t be disappointed if you decide to add this one to your Blu-ray library.

Two new commentaries: THE WAR and ISN’T SHE GREAT

Time has got away from me, which means I’m pleased to announce not one but two new commentaries for the fine folks at Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

THE WAR (1994), directed by Jon Avnet and starring Kevin Costner and Elijah Wood, is a Southern-drenched allegory of war waged on two fronts: the internal conflict of a man returned from the Vietnam War and the one faced by his kids against the town bullies. I’m honoured to have danced this commentary with Paul Anthony Nelson who makes his debut behind the DVD commentary mic (and what a premiere!)

ISN’T SHE GREAT (2000), directed by Andrew Bergman and starring Bette Midler and Nathan Lane, is a candy-coloured biopic about the larger-than-life author of Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann. I get to unpick the threads of this lost curio with my commentary sister, Sally Christie, and continue our proclivity for all things Bacharach.

Both films are available for pre-order before their respective releases in February and March 2021. Visit the Kino Lorber website for more.

LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER: New DVD audio commentary

I’ve just taken possession of this jaunty new release from Arrow Films. It’s a highly inventive, low budget monster film called LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER by Ryland Brickson Cole Tews and Mike Cheslik that kicks up a notch in the third act (a rarity these days). I’ve seen lots of monsters in my time, and this one is really something else.

I provide one of the commentary tracks with my other Lady of the Lake, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (the lake theme will become more evident with an upcoming announcement from Alex and myself). In the meantime, there are a heap of extras on this one to keep you busy, as the following image demonstrates…

Do yourself a solid and get behind these filmmakers. They’re ones to watch.

WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT?: New DVD audio commentary

It’s official! Sally Christie and I have teamed up for our second audio commentary together, following Paul Schrader’s LIGHT SLEEPER – Eureka’s Blu-ray release of WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT?.

Directed by Clive Donner, WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT? is a rollicking, swinging ’60s slapstick jive with an awe-inspiring ensemble cast of Peter O’Toole, Peter Sellars, Paula Prentiss, Capucine, Romy Schneider, Woody Allen and Ursula Andress.

Get your Bacharach on!

THE CHICKEN CHRONICLES: New DVD audio commentary

I’m pleased to be working with my partner-in-film, Lee Gambin, once again on a new blu-ray audio commentary for Kino Lorber – Francis Simon’s THE CHICKEN CHRONICLES from 1977, starring Steve Guttenberg in his debut role.

THE CHICKEN CHRONICLES joins a growing list of DVD audio commentaries that I’ve completed in recent years. So I decided it was worth dedicating a page on my website to these commentaries to give them the love they deserve. Take a look here…

MIDAS RUN: New DVD audio commentary

Lee Gambin and I have been privileged to record a DVD audio commentary for Kino Lorber’s new Blu-ray release of Alf Kjellin’s comedy heist caper, MIDAS RUN (1968),

As we’ve come to expect from Kino Lorber, this is a pristine release, a brand new HD master created from a 4K scan of the original negative.

Lee and I had SO MUCH fun putting this down on tape, especially given the quality of the cast – Richard Crenna, Anne Heywood, Fred Astaire, Ralph Richardson, Cesar Romero and more. We could have talked for hours!

MIDAS RUN is released on 21st May 2019.

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